Reality check and survey

Beltway insiders are often accused of being out of touch with the rest of the country.  Indeed Bush has been accused of being in a bubble.  However, bloggers often only attend to what is going on in Washington, and hence the WaPo and the Times usually carry the brunt of  a blogger's criticism.

Today, I am going to begin a new series that explores the editorial content of selected newspapers in selected cities.  Why?  Because the average Joe and Jane do not read the WaPo or the Times.  If the netroots is going to reflect the grassroots, then lets see what is going on inthe rest of the country!  These are the newspapers that I will be following from now until the end of the year.

Tampa Tribune (conservative) and St. Petersburg Times (liberal)
St. Paul Pioneer Press (conservative) and Minneapolis Star Tribune (liberal)

I chose these two metropolitan areas because they are located in competitive states (as of 2004) and because they contain at least two newspapers whose editorials typically come from different points of view.  I am interested in receiving suggestions about other newspapers that meet the same criteria.  Colorado?  Ohio?  Missouri?  Nevada?

So here are links to today's editorials:

The St. Pete Times focuses on education and NCLB:

 When the moisture content in a test answer sheet can keep a student from attending college, education officials across the nation need to quit denying the obvious. The explosion of high-stakes testing is producing grading errors with unthinkable consequences.

The latest disclosure comes from Pearson Education Management, no stranger to test mistakes, that the scores for some 5,000 high school students taking the SAT in October were wrongly reported. Roughly 90 percent of those students actually had higher scores than originally reported, some as much as 450 points higher. Pearson said computer scanners had trouble with moisture in the answer sheets, leading to the wrong scores.

This is not the first problem for Pearson, which scored 300-million different answer sheets for all types of tests last year. In Minnesota, it offered a $7-million settlement for 8,000 high school students who were wrongly denied their diplomas. It also has admitted significant scoring errors in Washington and Virginia and to the loss of some FCAT answer sheets in Florida.

where as the Tampa Tribune focuses on health care:

Already at Tampa General, construction is under way to more than double the size of the hospital's emergency department from 25,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet. The growth is needed because an emergency room built to handle 40,000 patient visits a year is now treating more than 60,000, a number that steadily grows.

The new E.R. will include three critical care units of 18 beds each, which will take 48 nurses per unit to care for the patients. As Hytoff says, that's tough recruiting.

But with the opening of the 30th Street urgent care center and the eventual opening of an ancillary emergency center closer to the hospital, we hope Tampa General will reduce the time it takes patients to see an E.R. doctor and be admitted or sent home.

Tampa General is a community jewel that deserves public support for going the extra mile to provide quality emergency care in a reasonable period of time.

The Star Tribune focuses on government secrecy:

There was a time when the United States considered art, particularly film, a powerful tool for reaching out to the world. U.S. officials believed films created for the government by distinguished filmmakers were capable of stimulating social and political change abroad, and they were right, especially in the two decades that followed World War II.

Most Americans have never seen these government films, because federal law forbade their release in the United States. In 1990, however, an exemption was enacted for films that were a part of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the war.

Now the Walker Art Center will offer a rare opportunity to see some of the best films from the Marshall Plan Wednesday through Saturday evenings next week when it screens "Selling Democracy," seven hours of film in all that were aimed at Europe, especially Germany. It is not at all clichéd to advise that this truly is an opportunity not to be missed, for young and old; the films are powerful, poignant and thought- provoking.

whereas the Pioneer Press focuses on the green economies:

Sometimes, ideas arrive in clusters, like bouquets of spring flowers. That happened in our little spot on the planet recently, encouraging thought about how the market moves with abundant, science-rich information.

Prosperity and an economy that rewards innovation have generated tremendous amounts of experimenting and data that help inform our economic and political decisions. In a system that depends on constant growth, this strengthens decision-making -- about what's good for individuals, and what's sustainable for the human family. The more people know, the more powerful their ability to judge costs and benefits over time.

Simple and complex.

If decisions are increasingly informed by science, such decisions are still motivated by big, simple ideas, as well as individual circumstances. Clean air. Clean water. Safe food. Respect for nature's rhythms, which of course include every human endeavor. Leaving a good environment for the grandkids. These are simple ideas that gain purchase in a well-informed economic environment.

Tags: Media, newspapers, Politics (all tags)


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